National Child Benefit for First Nations

The National Child Benefit (NCB) was a federal/provincial/territorial partnership initiative. Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) administered the NCB and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) managed the NCB on reserves in collaboration with ESDC.

As of July 1, 2016, the new Canada Child Benefit (CCB) program will replace all existing Government of Canada child benefits (Canada Child Tax Benefit, National Child Benefit (NCB) and the Universal Child Care Benefit) with one single tax-free payment. 

The CCB will provide low-income families on reserve with a higher monthly benefit, up to $6,400 per year for children under the age of 6 and $5,400 per year for each child aged 6 to 17. Families with less than $30,000 in family net income will receive the maximum benefit.

First Nation members are encouraged to file their 2015 income tax return in order to receive this new benefit. To get an estimate of how much your CCB will be, use the Canada Revenue Agency benefits calculator.

Under the old child benefits, the NCB also funded community-based projects through the National Child Benefit Reinvestment (NCBR). With the introduction of the CCB, all NCBR funding will end on March 31, 2017. No new applications are being accepted and all funds have been allocated.

First Nation communities who receive NCBR funding (block-funding or proposal-based projects) should start planning for the transition, and wind down all projects receiving NCBR funding. INAC is currently exploring how to continue to provide community-based supports for children on reserve, and will keep First Nations band councils informed.

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About the program

The National Child Benefit initiative had three objectives:

To achieve those objectives, the NCB consisted of two key components:

The financial benefits component of the NCB was administered by the Canada Revenue Agency. Under this component, INAC provided $1.34 million per year to the Yukon Government to reimburse the cost of the Yukon Child Benefit paid to First Nation families.

National Child Benefit Reinvestment

The reinvestment component of the National Child Benefit was administered off-reserve by provinces and territories and on-reserve by INAC through an agreement with ESDCINAC provided funding for the National Child Benefit Reinvestment only in regions where the province/territory provided this programming off-reserve.  The budget for this programming on-reserve was $51.2 million per year.

Where INAC was responsible, the NCBR provided funding for supports and services under five activity areas:

  • childcare: allowing low-income parents/guardians to gain access to day care or have their share of child care costs reduced
  • child nutrition: improving the health and well-being of children by providing nutritional supports (e.g., school meal programs) and education to parents on family nutrition and meal preparation
  • support for parents: helping parents/guardians support their children's healthy social development through activities such as parenting programs and drop-in centres
  • home-to-work transition: reducing barriers to employment (e.g., transportation or uniforms), and increasing employability through activities (e.g., training or summer work programs for youth)
  • cultural enrichment: supporting programming and projects that encourage the teaching of traditional culture

Nearly 200,000 First Nations children benefited from INAC's National Child Benefit Reinvestment program on an annual basis.

To avoid duplication and fill in service gaps, some of the activity areas funded by INAC through the National Child Benefit Reinvestment differed from the activity areas funded by provinces/territories off-reserve.

Who could apply?

National Child Benefit

Residents of Canada

National Child Benefit Reinvestment

No more applications are being accepted for the NCBR as the program will end on March 31, 2017.

Chief and Councils of Indian bands, tribal councils, First Nation organizations, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments and agencies, volunteer and not-for-profit organizations, businesses and educational institutions could apply to INAC for funding.

The beneficiaries of the National Child Benefit Reinvestment supports and services had to be ordinarily resident on-reserve, and be children (aged 0-17 inclusive) living in low-income families or be the parents/ guardians of these children.

Individuals who live off-reserve were eligible for support through the National Child Benefit Reinvestment funded by provinces/territories and not by INAC

How to apply?

National Child Benefit

Applications were not required for the NCB. Eligibility was determined by information included in your annual tax return submitted to the Canada Revenue Agency.  The NCB has been replaced by the Canada Child Benefit (CCB). You must file a tax return to receive this benefit.

National Child Benefit Reinvestment

No more applications are being accepted for the NCBR as the program will end on March 31, 2017

The National Social Programs Manual provides further guidelines on this program.

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